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  • katdelorraine

The Big Change

Reading glasses resting on a book.

Writing my first novel was challenging. The process was long and intensive. In retrospect, I see that the steps I took were necessary for me as a means of exploration and a learning process. Even so, I realize it will not be the same for all writers, and individuals should follow their own guidance. Many years passed before I decided to take time to become a novelist, but it seemed like one day I had an unrelenting urge to do so. Prior to this, I was so devoted to teaching, writing poetry, that the thought of writing a novel did not occur to me. Since I had written short stories, I thought I could, but I soon found out it was far more difficult than I expected.

Before I began to write, I needed to do lots of research. While the setting is my hometown, I had not lived there in a very long time. Things had changed a great deal. I visited

several times and took pictures and notes and asked for information from family living there. I consulted the internet as well. This process continued after I started writing whenever I needed to know something.

Beginning the story was easy for me, but I soon realized I needed more guidance, so I formed a writing group. Even with their help, several times I thought I was not getting anywhere. This went on for about three years. Fortunately, I am not a quitter. When I got discouraged, I left it alone and switched to writing something else. I never gave up on it because the subject was important to me.

The biggest change came when the brothel, known as Miss Lila’s place, manifested. I remember I actually chuckled and thought, You’re kidding! Well, I am glad it appeared because it certainly enlivened the story. From that point on, new characters showed up—ones who fit the roles, added to the suspense, and gave the story more meaning. In fact, those women’s lives continued in the sequel.

While I delighted in the such sudden appearances like the brothel, being a pantser is not always easy. It means one has to let go and trust the story will come. Believe me, that is not easy! Not knowing where it was going made me feel as though I did not know what I was doing. That is when I had to talk myself into trusting the process. After a long, challenging journey, I finally arrived at the completion of my debut novel. While finishing is rewarding, that is not the end of my journey. I am finding that writing the sequel I have almost completed is so much easier.

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